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Human Capital and Sustainability

Author

Listed:
  • Ivo Šlaus

    () (South East European Division (World Academy of Art and Science), Ruder Boskovic Institute, P.O. Box 1016, Zagreb 10000, Croatia)

  • Garry Jacobs

    () (The Mother’s Service Society, 5, Puduvai Sivam Street, Venkata Nagar, Pondicherry 605011, India)

Abstract

A study of sustainability needs to consider the role of all forms of capital—natural, biological, social, technological, financial, cultural—and the complex ways in which they interact. All forms of capital derive their value, utility and application from human mental awareness, creativity and social innovation. This makes human capital, including social capital, the central determinant of resource productivity and sustainability. Humanity has entered the Anthropocene Epoch in which human changes have become the predominant factor in evolution. Humanity is itself evolving from animal physicality to social vitality to mental individuality. This transition has profound bearing on human productive capabilities, adaptability, creativity and values, the organization of economy, public policy, social awareness and life styles that determine sustainability. This article examines the linkages between population, economic development, employment, education, health, social equity, cultural values, energy intensity and sustainability in the context of evolving human consciousness. It concludes that development of human capital is the critical determinant of long-term sustainability and that efforts to accelerate the evolution of human consciousness and emergence of mentally self-conscious individuals will be the most effective approach for ensuring a sustainable future. Education is the primary lever. Human choice matters.

Suggested Citation

  • Ivo Šlaus & Garry Jacobs, 2011. "Human Capital and Sustainability," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(1), pages 1-58, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:97-154:d:10847
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dietz, Simon & Neumayer, Eric, 2007. "Weak and strong sustainability in the SEEA: Concepts and measurement," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(4), pages 617-626, March.
    2. David E. Bloom & David Canning, 2004. "The Health and Wealth of Africa," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 5(2), pages 57-81, April.
    3. Bryan G. Norton & Michael A. Toman, 1997. "Sustainability: Ecological and Economic Perspectives," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 553-568.
    4. Bloom, David E. & Canning, David & Sevilla, Jaypee, 2004. "The Effect of Health on Economic Growth: A Production Function Approach," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-13, January.
    5. Berta Rivera & Luis Currais, 2003. "The effect of health investment on growth: A causality analysis," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 9(4), pages 312-323, November.
    6. Brand, Fridolin, 2009. "Critical natural capital revisited: Ecological resilience and sustainable development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 605-612, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Abdul Azeez Badir Alnidawi & Fatimah Musa Omran, 2016. "Learning Organization Impact on Internal Intellectual Capital Risks: An Empirical Study in the Jordanian Pharmaceutical Industry Companies," International Business Research, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 9(10), pages 176-185, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    human capital; social capital; education; employment; evolution; inequality; individuality; knowledge; population;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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